Social Media

How To Use Instagram Reels: A Step-By-Step Guide

Instagram Reels allows you to create and share TikTok-like videos up to 60 seconds long.

Unlike Instagram Stories, Reels appear permanently on your Instagram profile and don’t disappear after 24 hours.

Reels shares many of the same features as TikTok, which helps Instagram stay competitive with today’s fastest growing social media app.

Unlike TikTok, which is a standalone app, Reels is built into the Instagram app you’re already using.

With Instagram Reels, you can:

  • Create and share 60-second videos.
  • Add your own audio to videos, or choose a song from our catalog of licensed music.
  • Get original audio from other videos and add it to your own.
  • Create interactive videos based on content from other users.

Reels appear in the Instagram Explore tab, which gives you a chance to reach a wider audience than people who don’t already follow you.

There is a potential to gain a lot of exposure if your video goes viral and becomes ‘Featured’ content in the Explore section.

Here’s more on how to create and share reels.

1. Open the Instagram app and go to Reels

Screenshot from, January 2022.

Open the Instagram app and sign in to your account if you aren’t already.

Then hit the plus button, or swipe right from the main feed to access the Instagram camera.

With the Instagram Camera open, scroll to reels At the bottom.

2. Record a reel with the Instagram camera

Instagram reelsScreenshot from, January 2022.

After selecting Reels, you can either start recording right away, or you can add some production quality by selecting one of the following tools:

  • My voice: Search for a song from Instagram’s music library or record your own audio.
  • AR effects: Select one of the many effects in the effects gallery.
  • Timer and countdown: Set the timer for hands-free clip recording.
  • alignment: Align the objects from your previous clip before recording your next clip.
  • Speed: Speed ​​up or slow down a part of the video or audio you selected.

Record a reel by pressing and holding the capture button.

A reel can be recorded in a series of clips, all at once, or using video uploads from your camera roll.

You can preview your creation, as well as add stickers, graphics, or text, before posting the reel.

Once you are done with your video file, you can go to the editing screen.

3. Share the reel with your followers

Instagram reelsScreenshot from, January 2022.

handle Participated in Then press cover To change the cover photo and write a comment.

By default, your file will be shared to Instagram Explore. handle stories At the top if you want to share your reel with your story rather than explore it.

How does the Instagram Reels algorithm work?

Instagram is transparent about how it ranks the content people see when browsing through Reels. This insight may help you create more successful clips.

Instagram is pushing Reels as the next major feature. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has gone on record as saying he wants to go big on video in a bid to compete directly with TikTok.

  • See: Instagram: “We’re no longer a photo-sharing app”

As Instagram continues to invest in Reels, it keeps users updated on how this section of the app is doing.

The company revealed how it selects the recommended reels for each individual user.

Keep reading to learn how the Instagram algorithm shows reels, information that can help you create more engaging content for your audience.

Here’s what you need to know.

How Instagram recommends reels to users

The goal of Intagram’s Reels algorithm is to show you content that users will enjoy watching and actively engaging with.

In order to decide which reels to show users, the Instagram algorithm considers how likely it is that an individual will:

  • Watch the full reel through
  • admire
  • Say it was amusing or funny
  • Go to the audio page to make their own reel

This last point might sound confusing if you’re not familiar with Reels or TikTok. It refers to the ability to take an audio track from someone’s video and create your own content with it.

Unless the creator has disabled the feature, each reel has a page where viewers can capture the audio and create a new video with the same track.

Creating a highly shareable soundtrack can power you away with a recommendation algorithm — but it’s not the only important signal.

Related: How the Instagram algorithm works and IG content best practices

The most important signals reels algorithm

Instagram says user activity is the most important signal when it comes to recommending Reels.

The algorithm takes into account which reels the user has interacted with in the past, and whether they have had any direct interaction with the creator.

This means that replying to comments, direct messages, and tags can help get your content shown in people’s feeds more often.

Next, Instagram looks at information about the video itself and information about the creator.

The most important signals for Reels’ recommendation algorithm are (in order of importance):

  • user activity: including recent engagement with Reels and interactions with creators.
  • Information about reel: such as popularity, audio track, video understanding based on pixels and full frames.
  • Information about the creator: including who they are and how other users have interacted with them.

Types of content that Instagram doesn’t recommend

There are several types of content that Instagram will not recommend regardless of how popular the creator is or how much engagement the video receives.

Instagram avoids recommending Reels for the following reasons:

  • The video is low resolution and/or has a watermark.
  • The video contains political content.
  • The video was made by political or government figures.

If you want to get anywhere with Instagram Reels, aim to produce high-quality, original content. Recycled watermarked videos from other sites will not appear in people’s feeds unless you follow the creator directly.

Finally, keep the theme light and friendly for all audiences.

Track which Reels resonate the most with your followers by noting how much likes, views, and comments each person receives. With a Business or Creator account, you can access more detailed metrics.

More resources:

  • 7 Tips for More Engaging Instagram Posts and Better Performance
  • How to Use Hashtags on Instagram: Everything You Need to Know
  • Social Media Marketing: A Complete Strategy Guide

Source: creators on Instagram

Featured image: Ascannio/Shutterstock

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